Coping with COVID

If there’s one thing that God has taught me or is teaching me through this season of being home is that it’s alright not to have it all together. It’s okay to question and doubt. It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes you just need a good crying session because life is falling apart.

We are going on 9 weeks of being stuck at home and I’m surprised that I actually haven’t snapped yet. LOL Well that’s a lie. I might’ve snapped a few times by myself alone in my room. You see when this whole pandemic first started of course I was concerned but didn’t really think too much about it until it hit home. The end of March my mom was getting really sick. Sick to the point where she was showing symptoms and needed to get tested and checked out. Everything happened way too fast in my opinion that left my head spinning trying to process everything. Within a week from her first getting sick she ended up being admitted to the hospital.

Let me just say if you have been following me for any time now you know my personality is that it takes me time to process and in this situation I really didn’t have any time to. Mom was in the hospital for 12 days and let’s just say for me it was probably just as much hell as it was for her. My anxiety went through the roof and I wasn’t eating or sleeping really well either. I was really torn up inside. Slowly I was falling apart.

Of course I had the support of my friends and family but I really felt all alone. I was trying to be strong but it was killing me. The one thing that I needed and wanted the most, I couldn’t have. My heart ached and longed for the hugs of my friends, the support and just having them right there with me. It really killed me inside that it wasn’t possible to have anyone over. Now I had facetime and all but it wasn’t the same. I was scared, lonely and angry. I don’t think I felt this alone before in my life.

Now I know what you are thinking, Grace aren’t you a Christian? Don’t you know that God is with you? Don’t you know He is good? You just have to trust Him. You need to snap out of this mood. You shouldn’t be stressed or worried because He is in control. While I know all this and I wish I could say that I really believed it to be true but than I would be lying to you and to myself. I didn’t understand why this was happening. How could God allow this? I knew the truth and I knew that He is good but right now, in that moment I just couldn’t feel it. I really felt like a bad Christian for even thinking these thoughts and doubting. I beat myself up because I felt like I should’ve had bigger faith. I felt like a failure for having my emotions and feelings. Honestly it got to the point of me just wanting to give up and walk away. I needed a break.

I reached out to a few friends and my mentor. They all reminded me of the same thing. It’s okay to feel these things. It doesn’t change the fact that I am still a daughter of the King. It shows that I am human and my feelings were valid. This was just a season that I was going through. It would pass but until then it was okay to fall apart. Just don’t stay like that.

My mom got better and was released from the hospital on Easter Sunday. I thought with having her back home things would start to look up and get better. I was so wrong. Just when things couldn’t get worse they did. That Sunday night after getting mom settled I felt really sick, fever and chills, sick in my stomach. I just thought it was the stress and everything catching up with me. I was feeling better the next day. However, I had a cough that had been lingering since the middle of February so the doctor wanted me to go get an x-ray to make sure nothing else was wrong. I went that Thursday and that’s when things took a turn for the worst.

My x-ray showed something on my one lung that looked like pneumonia that came from COVID-19. I needed to go get tested again. Over the weekend, I was super concerned about the test results. Sunday night I had a really uneasy feeling. I felt like something was wrong and that the results were going to be bad. At first, I just thought that I was letting my head get the best of me but something in my gut was telling me it’s not good. I started spiraling fast and reached out to Kaitlyn. She called me that night and prayed for me. I felt better and had some peace about it. Monday I find out that my results came back positive.

So once again started being isolated in my room and upstairs. For like 2 weeks I was stuck upstairs by myself. It was definitely an interesting journey to say the least. My emotions and anxiety was off the scale. I was overwhelmed and just wished and prayed that I would wake up and this all be a huge mistake and nightmare. However that wasn’t the case. The loneliness was real friends. I’m an introvert at heart but the alone time was almost more than even I could stand. 

There were multiple times where I cried myself to sleep or didn’t sleep much at all. I would pray, listen to worship music and just think. It was super hard to not let my thoughts and emotions and feelings go to my head. All the what ifs and why me scenarios were coming to my mind.

One thing God taught me through that time was it was okay to feel. It was okay to not be okay. Everything was falling apart but it brought me closer to Him.

While I am on the mend and pretty much over this whole virus. I really have been struggling with finding a new normal. Finding new rhythms and routine. My perspective on a lot have changed and I am learning new things everyday. The most important thing is that I have been pressing into Him more and more through all of this. I just want to show up and let God work through me. Work through this one hot mess express.

My encouragement for you is this. I know this season is hard on everyone. There are so many opinions out there over this whole pandemic. While I am not trying to diminish anyone’s feelings I would like to say as someone who was hit hard with COVID within my family don’t take the little things for granted. We will get through this season together with God’s strength. Use this time to grow closer to Him. Just show up and be the real authentic you. When you do it’s amazing how God can use you. Just be willing to be used.

Authentic Godly Friendships

Friendship is something we all crave. Ever since I can remember I have always craved or desired to find that bosom friend like in Anne of Green Gables. I think it’s safe to say every girl always loved the friendship that Anne and Diana had. Kindred spirits as she would call it.     

Unfortunately for me it wasn’t that easy. You see, in life you will experience friends that come and go and very few that will stick by you forever no matter what. It’s easier for some people to just be your friend when it is convenient for them or when nothing is wrong. But when a trial or struggle comes up and things get rough they just walk away because it is easier then to try and understand.

I’m sad to say that I have experienced this in my life more than I’d like to admit that has left me hurting and scarred. I’ve had friends ditch me or push me aside when they start dating because all of a sudden I wasn’t important to them. You see I wear my heart on my sleeve and would do anything for my friends whether it was convenient for me or not. When I think back to friendships that I used to have my expectations were unrealistic. They were coming from what I wanted and desired not necessarily what God wanted for me. You see, just like you I am human and it’s easy to think we know what’s best. 

But let me tell you, that friendships, the right ones, authentic Godly ones aren’t easy and they are super rare. They take lots of work too. It’s not something that just happens overnight although that would be really nice. It takes both of you to make it work. I read an article once that said you need to be the kind of friend that you want to have. That really has stuck with me and it’s helped me on the way I view friendships now.  

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 27:17 NLT version says: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

It’s taken me years and lots of change of perspective to get to the point where I am now. I have been hurt so much by friends or so called friends that the healing process has taken time to get over and I am still healing. My prayer is that through my story, it can encourage you and remind you that you aren’t alone if you find yourself in a similar situation.  

While I have had my share of hurts from past friendships I believe that if it weren’t for them and the pain I wouldn’t be where I am today and wouldn’t have met my best friend Kaitlyn, even though I didn’t think that I could ever open myself up to someone again. The fear of everyone leaving me was real. I still to this day struggle with that fear. Because of the hurt and the pain it was easier for me to hide who I really was when I would meet new people then to be myself for fear that I overshare or open up too quickly and they end up leaving again or not really caring. 

Some of my unrealistic expectations were that I thought one person could fill all my wants and needs. That they would always be there at a moment’s notice and never let me down. I believed that we would be best friends for life and that we would do everything together, share everything and grow old together. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was totally unrealistic and never going to happen. That is way too much pressure to put on anyone. 

While watching an online conference one day, Annie Downs was speaking on friendship and what she said really struck a chord with me. It really made an impression and I believe it was the turning point for me. She said, “let your friends be your friends, they aren’t God. Anything else is a blessing.” WOW! Just hit me in the head why don’t you. God is the only one that can fulfill all your needs and wants and never let you down. He can however use people in your life to support you, encourage you, pray for you and be there for you. You just have to realize that they are human too and that friendship takes work and works both ways. 

It’s important to find people that speak life and truth over your life but it’s also just equally as important that you do the same for them. 

You see, I was just coming out of a friendship that I stayed in way longer than I should’ve. There was a lot of pain and trust was broken. I was hurt really bad. You see I poured my heart out and shared everything with this friend. We went through a lot together. I was always there for her when she needed it but she was nowhere to be found when I needed it. I was lied to and used and while I don’t feel like going into details let’s just say it’s safe to say I was shattered and heartbroken when we had to end our friendship. Now this doesn’t mean I stopped caring about her, I just knew for my own personal mental health that I needed to take a step back. This whole ordeal left me with trust issues and wondering if I would ever find a friend that I could truly count on. 

The pain was real. It hurt like hell but my emotions were more than valid. Everything I was feeling was valid, at least that’s what my friend Ella would say. She’s really helped me learn how to process and express my feelings instead of keeping it bottled up inside. For a while, I shut down, I very rarely talked to new people at church. I stuck to just making small talk and acting like everything was okay because I didn’t want to open up because I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t want to get hurt again. I didn’t want to have to go through that pain again. 

God had different plans for me and used the pain, hurt, and these experiences to bring me closer to Him and to bring a friend into my life at just the right time. 

It was the fall of 2019 on a Friday night, our young adult group was having a bonfire. I really didn’t want to go because like I said I was still dealing with the hurt and pain and I felt like going to the bonfire would just stir up old memories. However, I decided to go even if it was just for a little while. I am so glad that I did. It still amazes me to this day how God brings the right person into your life at the exact time you need it. While at the bonfire, I had already made my rounds of small talk with my friends and decided to go sit by myself and just crochet and be alone. You see I am an introvert and so there comes a time where I need a few moments to recharge after hitting my wall. I was sitting there just thinking and honestly was tempted to say my goodbyes and head out since it was getting late. 

Next thing I know there was this girl, Kaitlyn who came over, sat down, and started talking to me. I knew who she was since I saw her at church, friends on social media, and we have occasionally said hello here and there but I didn’t really know her. We started talking and I could tell right away that there was something different about her. Maybe it was the way she listened? Maybe it was she asked me questions and then actually listened for my response? I still don’t know but I had this feeling that I needed to just be myself. I felt comfortable and next thing you know I was telling her my whole life story. Which is probably more than she wanted to know at the time. But the weird thing is I’m not usually that trusting or at least that talkative about my life to people I just met and especially when other people are around. But I guess God was nudging me and prompting me to share. We ended up talking and staying at the bonfire till well after 1am. We decided to meet for lunch after church Sunday to continue talking and getting to know each other. 

Fast forward to now almost 7 months later our friendship has grown so much. A lot has happened in a short amount of time but Kaitlyn has proved to me over and over that she is in this friendship for the long haul. Our friendship is proof of God working through both of us. She is not here just when it’s convenient for her but through the highs and the lows. Come to find out later she told me that when we met at the bonfire God was nudging and prompting her to come over to talk to me. She was so glad she listened and I am so glad she did too. God definitely moved through both of us and continues to move through our friendship. 

The saying “choose your friends wisely because you become who you hangout with” is something I wholeheartedly believe in. 

Proverbs 17:17 in The Message translation says: “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Family isn’t always by blood. Some friends become like family. I’m not saying our friendship is perfect. We have to work at it everyday. I have noticed that saying to prove true. I can definitely tell that my personality and perspective is different when I hang out with her. We are very similar and I think that’s why we get along so well. It really does make a difference to your mood when you have the right people in your life. You need people who build you up instead of tear you down. People who cheer for you instead of compete with you.  

I’d like to leave you with three tips or points that I have found helpful when it comes to real, Godly friendships. 

  1. Be the real you- don’t be afraid to be real and authentic. You don’t need to hide who you are. There will be days when you have it all together and days when everything is falling apart and that’s ok. Real Godly friends will not care. They want you to be yourself with them. They get that life throws curve balls and seasons change. If you feel like you have to pretend with them then they probably aren’t the right kind of person you need in your life. 
  2. Open communication/honesty- it’s important to be honest with each other. If something is bothering you then talk about it. Don’t just hold it in because you are afraid of conflict. Bring it out in the open so you can both resolve it. Even if it’s uncomfortable it’s better to talk about it with each other than to just let it make you miserable so you can both work on together. It’s better to be honest then to keep quiet. If you don’t talk about it how does the other know there is a problem. It’s not fair to either of you.  
  3. Respect boundaries- as much as you want to talk, text, facetime, or hangout all the time you have to remember that they have a life outside of being friends with you. Learn when to give them space and respect them when they are busy. If it’s an emergency then send them a message saying so. Also don’t just show up unannounced make sure you check in first before showing up. Also respect the fact that they have other friendships and it’s okay for them to do things without you. Again talk about it and communicate with each other and set boundaries. 

Authentic, Godly friendships are important and I pray that you can find people in your life who will allow you to be the real you. People who will support you no matter what. Encourage and pray for you and speak truth and life over you. The kind of friends who laugh with you and cry with you and let you vent. Those are the people who you need in your life. However you also need to be that kind of friend for them as well. I’m by no means perfect. Like you have read I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I am by no means the perfect friend. However I strive to be with God’s help the best I can. It starts with just being the real you. 

I know it’s hard and if you have been hurt in past friendships and still healing just remember that your emotions and feelings are valid. If you haven’t found that kindred spirit friend yet I encourage you to keep praying. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed God more than I needed a best friend that He brought Kaitlyn into my life. So I encourage you to press into God and cry out to Him. He wants to be your friend. In fact He is the ultimate friend and the best friend you could ever have. 

Grow Through What You Go Through

🌱Grow through what you go through! 🌱

If you’ve been following me for any time now you probably know that I like to be 60768785_2257299101200538_3828098823301890048_otransparent and honest with you all. I like to speak what’s on my heart. ⠀⠀

Recently I’ve opened up with struggling a lot with life, health issues, my ministry, and writing. It’s scary to be vulnerable with you but I want you to see not just the good but the messy and hard. I don’t want you to think I’m perfect because God knows I’m far from it. I want you to know that I’m relatable and human just like you. ⠀
I’ve had a few deep conversations with close friends and mentors lately. Each of them reminded me that it’s okay to feel like this. It’s okay to have fears and concerns. It’s okay to have doubts. ⠀

What’s not okay is to let them hold me captive. ⠀⠀
Something that they reminded me is that instead, I need to think about all the good things that God has done and give thanks. Now, this doesn’t mean these thoughts are bad. It just means I can’t let them constantly consume me. Even when it’s hard I need to still give praise to God. ⠀⠀⠀

Every day God is teaching me something.⠀⠀
Every day God is showing me a truth.⠀⠀
Every day God continues to be faithful.⠀⠀
Every day God shows His unconditional love for me.⠀⠀
Every day even through the pain of my circumstances God is good. ⠀

I’m learning and growing through these trials and hardships. I’m learning to be open and honest with others. I’m learning that I’m not alone and have amazing support and community of friends. ⠀
I don’t know what you are facing today. I don’t need to know. God knows what you are going through. I’m here to remind you that I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you continue to grow. ⠀⠀
Grow in your faith and that through your pain, hurt, and fears cling to the promise that God is with you every step of the way.

My Relationship with JESUS is More Important than the World!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s March already! You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been. It’s been two weeks since I last posted but a lot has been going on in those two weeks for sure.

If you’ve learned anything about me from reading this blog, following me on social media, or know me personally you will know I love pouring into others and encouraging them. Well, the truth is if I am completely honest I sorta have been ignoring myself.

It is so much easier to take care of others than yourself. 

The thing is I am in a season where I feel like I am empty or dried up. I keep pouring out and out but in reality, I need to be filled up and poured into myself.

  • Yes, I have a mentor.
  • Yes, I go to church.
  • Yes, I have a prayer life.
  • Yes, I spend time in worship.
  • Yes, I have friends that encourage me.

But even with that, I have been feeling disconnected. I want to really dig into my Bible and grow closer to God.

The key is consistency. I haven’t been very good at being consistent and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 

With Easter coming up next month and Lent starting tomorrow I really thought and prayed long and hard about what I was going to give up and fast from during Lent. I’ve given up social media before, I’ve given up games, and I’ve given up food. But this year I wanted to give up something completely different.

So this year I chose to give up music. Yes, you read that right. Now before you freak out and start yelling at the computer at me and calling me crazy let me explain. I’m not giving up all music, just country, pop, and whatever other music there is except for worship and Christian.

You see while I love my country music I love my relationship with JESUS more. I want to really take the next 40 days to seek Him and let Him speak to me. I want a deeper connection. There’s no better way than to fill my head with worship and praise to Him. Worship and prayer are vital parts of my faith journey. 

The other thing that I will give up is Pinterest. I did this last year and it was super hard but I spend so much time on there scrolling and pinning that I figured I could use that time to read my Bible or pray instead of mindlessly looking every little thing up on Pinterest.

Next, I picked up a book at Lifeway today that is exactly 40 days long. It’s the new book by Jennie Allen called: Made for This – 40 Days to Living Your Purpose. I’m really excited to read it and dig in. She is one of my all-time favorite authors and speakers. She is the founder of the IF GATHERING women’s conference.

The book will help you answer the question: “WHY AM I HERE?” It basically helps you learn how to let God control your life and use you and your story of where you are at now for His purpose.

I will keep you updated as I read. I’ll probably post periodically on Instagram so be sure to follow me over there @onegirlonelifeonegod

So please join me in praying as I take the next 40 days to strengthen my relationship with God and fast from worldly music. I will be praying for you as well. Maybe you give soemthing up for Lent. If so I’d love to hear about it if you want to share. You can leave a comment or reach out on any of my social media accounts.

The bottom line to this post is this.

My relationship with JESUS is more important than the world.

Mentoring Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

Mentoring is an important part of life. It’s something that I feel like everyone needs. The idea of someone consistently pouring into your life that you trust to give you advice, call you out when you need it and just be there for you is amazing. However, let me just tell you that being a mentor isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things to do that will stretch you and test your limits.

Now before you get the wrong idea, I’m all for mentoring and in fact, I am mentoring someone right now. While I really am passionate about it and pouring myself into it I keep finding myself constantly being attacked by the enemy. You see, anytime that you are doing something for the good of God’s kingdom, Satan will attack you and hit you where it hurts the most.

Spiritual warfare is real and dangerous! That’s a whole other post I could write about but for the sake of time and not to confuse you I will get back to my point. 

You see, there’s a difference between having a mentor and having a best friend. If there’s one thing that I have learned over the last month of mentoring it is this. Let your best friend be your best friend and don’t expect them to mentor you. Let me explain myself a little bit more. You might be thinking well I trust my best friend to give me sound advice and she knows me better than anyone. While that may be true, the problem is she does know you better and therefore can’t be neutral in giving you advice.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should ignore your friend’s advice it just means you need to be careful and also have a mentor in your life as well that can help you with making the right decision.

A mentor is supposed to be someone who:

  • is a role model
  • someone who believes in you
  • encourages you
  • available in times of crisis
  • provides accountability
  • promotes spiritual growth
  • helps you achieve goals
  • provides trusted counsel

These are very important parts of what a mentor is. It’s not an easy road or journey but it’s definitely worth it. Helping someone grow in their relationship with Jesus is great and honestly the best feeling in the world. Just don’t get distracted by the enemy’s lies and attacks. Anytime you are doing something to further the kingdom of God the enemy is right there waiting to attack.

Mentoring is a gift but it’s not for the faint of heart.